The Dallas Cowboys released defensive tackle Dontari Poe on Wednesday night, a move that wouldn’t seem so noteworthy on the surface, particularly with reports he was playing overweight (The Star-Telegram cites a scout who said as much and added Poe isn’t “holding the point like someone of his size should”).

But there are some people wondering if Poe’s release also had anything to do with the fact that he was the only player to kneel during the national anthem this season.

That was the question asked by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen to owner Jerry Jones, whose tone about anthem protests has shifted slightly over the years:

“When you’re 30 pounds overweight and you’re not doing anything about what’s keeping you from performing well on the field, there is no reason to get into the other stuff. …

“I understand your question, and I’m deliberately not going to answer it,” Jones replied. “We have a platform here, but the platform on the football field has a high standard, and was not up to the standard. He needed to correct that, and he did not. I’m going to leave it at that.”

Yes, Jones keeps citing Poe’s weight and performance, but why would he deliberately not answer the questions about the DT kneeling?

Jones similarly avoided directly answering questions about Poe in September:

“I thought our players, I thought they gave it sensitivity,” Jones said when asked about his team’s response to Poe. “They showed respect to Poe’s decision. I think they certainly did … show a sensitivity to our fans as a team team. … All in all, I thought our team was very real and very genuine in the way it approached it.”

Again: he wasn’t exactly backing Poe but he wasn’t ripping him either. And that seems to be Jones’s new policy: to avoid the questions entirely.

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